So I just got home from a nice few days away with Alan. He's got like three weeks of leave. The first thing we did was on the Saturday before we left, we went up to Palmerston North for the birthday of Chris and Cathy's granddad. It was nice, although the weather was shite. We also caught up with a good friend of his, Kat, and checked out our old stomping grounds, the Woolworths-turned-Countdown (looking awesome!) and the slightly smaller Mitre 10 Mega. Said hi to a few folks.
Anyway, on the Tuesday, we drove up to Cathy's place in the Taranaki, just outside of a place called Manaia. The mountain decided to be shy, so no photos. We caught up with Cathy, I got to meet her partner Scott, and Cathy's mum Marty came over for dinner. Next day we checked out Opunake, the wee town where Chris and Cathy were teenagers and got into mischief. Looked at a couple stores, had a really nice coffee at the cafe there, before heading off. We decided to drive up to Hamilton by the New Plymouth route.
New Plymouth is one city neither Alan nor I have been to, and I would like to go back there for a longer stay at some stage. There were some interesting shops to check out and a coffee place we were reccommended but did not actually feel like stopping at this time. It was overcast but muggy and just a bit too hot for coffee. Our drive up the coast revealed some rather fine land sheltered between ocean and high hills and cliffs, ideal for cutting off and developing into a zombie-free zone. There were even tunnels ideal for building gates.
Arrived in Hamilton, where we planned to spend three nights and two days. Wandered around town Thursday morning before going over to pandoras_evil_t
to visit and see my goddaughter. Sorcha is such a little cutie. Had a nice little visit, managed to score some rum for Alan for his birthday, as well as the gin and instant kiwi as part of my chrissy present. The instant kiwi won me $2. I may have imitated that macca's ad with the ginger when I found that.
Friday the 19th was Alan's birthday. He may have whined a bit that he didn't have cake, so I was going to make one... but first we went shopping at the Base. That took longer than I expected, and by the time we got back, dad was making the cake. So I agreed to do the icing. The evening's plan was to attend this concert and picnic dinner on the Rhodedendrum lawn of the Hamilton Gardens, and that was very entertaining. There was even cake for Alan, complete with icing.
My dad and Suzy found this ginger kitten outside their house just after Christmas, that they brought in. Suzy named him Sherlock, and she's his human. She doesn't understand this, but I've told her she gets no say in the matter. She's his favourite, and that's how it's going to be. I'm glad they have the kitten, as all their pets are getting on in years, and the puppy my step-sister Carla gave them last year died of a congenital thing after only a couple of weeks. Anyway, their new kitten is a bundle of mischief. But so cute.
Oh, and Alan was driving over to the Warehouse near where my dad lives, listening to the Rock, and he happened to be following the Rock van at the time. It gets announced tha the first person to the rock van outside would win a free Hell's pizza, so hey! He hopped on over and won us a free pizza. Unfortunately it was only from one of two hell's pizzas in Hams, so we grabbed it that evening even though we already had dinner sorted. It meant we had leftovers, hee.
Saturday we headed up to the Coromandal. Dad gave us directions to take this country route, but he got me confused after the third or fourth left-turn/right-turn, so we went the sign-posted way, and caught ourselves a hitch-hiker. He was this young South African guy heading to Paeroa to interview an old woman there (I forget her name) who had been charged for growing cannibis (she took it for her arthritis) with all these miscellaneous charges of gang-related stuff and all that. He was doing a doco about it but his ride had to cancel and so he was hitching. We were nice. :D
Anyway, should we ever win lotto, I think we'll be settling down in the Coromandel; it's really gorgeous up there, and the prices are not that bad. It's more expensive here where we live! But we got to the motor camp, had a look at the options available to stay in, and settled on these cabin/caraven hybrids, that were kitted with everything but toilets and hot water, and were only $65 a night. We were going to stay one night, and then decided to stay for two. And then Alan promptly went fishing, while I got a bit of sunbathing in.
I'd gone to grab the camera, and by the time I got back to Alan on the rocks, he'd caught his first snapper. It was only a little one, just barely legal (possibly) that was a fine addition to our dinner of fish and chips. Then Alan went for an evening fish, where I got some lovely sunset photos, and he caught another snapper, again small, but still legal. I don't know how we managed it, but we did wake before dawn and so he was able to get in a morning fish. One was too small and he had to throw back, but the other was fine.
We took a drive into Whitianga, where shops were amazingly open on a Sunday, and bought a couple things, checked out the local Mitre 10, and got some supplies from New World. Like beer. :D So in the afternoon I got some more sunbathing, he had rotton luck at fishing, before we went for another drive and explore... He tried for another evening fish, but nothing wanted to get caught, and they didn't in the morning, either.
Finally yesterday was the drive home, and it was a long drive home. Not only because of (extremely) slow drivers, and (frequent) roadworks, but because we did a bit of a tiki-tour without the aid of maps to show us the quickest route. I saw more of back country roads than I expected to, and learned I ought to be more assertive in my opinions, because the route I thought was more direct was the more direct, but he was leery of following a gravel road. No matter, it just meant we had a long day of him driving.
Coming home kinda sucked, because Joe and Heaven had been making use of the entire house, and that's fucked with my OCD. Things in the kitchen weren't where they were supposed to go, and they'd helped themselves to more than just the perishables we'd said they could use... I apologised to Alan because I kinda started bitching inside of five minutes, and it didn't help that I was tired (and thus, cranky) and that Joe wanted to fill us in on all the things that had been happening while we were gone and hear all about our trip right then and there. I think I told him a couple times we just wanted to relax and unwind a bit, if that wasn't too much trouble.
As it is, Gratch has formed a new bad habit. It started just before we left, but she has taken to curling up and sleeping on the dining table in the kitchen. I have taught her from an early age that kitchen benchtops and tables (be it dining, outdoor, or coffee) are off-limits to kitty. Now I'm going to have to fight her on it all over again.
Anyway, I posted some pictures from the holiday on my facebook, for those who are interested (and if you're interested but don't have me added on fb, feel free to make the request). So yeah. That's life. Fin.